Murrieta and Temecula became part of one of 12 state-designated innovation hubs in California, expanding the opportunities to create jobs by encouraging innovative technology companies in the region.
Referred to as iHubs, Murrieta, Temecula and Riverside will join the San Diego iHub, announced Joel Ayala, director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, in a news conference Tuesday at the University of California, Riverside. (See Patch's video of the news conference to the right.)
The expansion of the iHub makes the region a stronger candidate for federal funds, to be used for introducing innovations in the clean technology sector.
"The partnership expands the already strong network of innovative companies working to commercialize new products and conduct cutting edge research," Ayala said.
It was born out of a recent effort by UC Riverside and the San Diego Zoo joining together to apply for a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for their I6 Green Challenge, which dealt with advancements in the field of Bio-Mimicry, according to Brook Taylor, a spokesperson for the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
"In addition to the partnership between UC Riverside and the San Diego Zoo, cities such as Murrieta and Temecula have been actively engaged to develop this partnership and emphasize the innovative companies along the Interstate 215 corridor," Taylor said.
Temecula Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Washington joined Murrieta Mayor Randon Lane in officiating the partnership at the news conference.
"In the past what has sustained us was construction, and we know that will never rebound, at least not for us," Washington said.
Lane said the Murrieta/Temecula/Southwest Riverside area is already closely connected to the greater San Diego region, functioning as an extension of it.
"...Our focus is to work closely with San Diego...to promote the mutual growth of both San Diego and Southwest Riverside County as a regional center for start-up and other technology companies," Lane said.
Ron Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, also spoke.
"In my own judgment, when you bring good people to the table, you get good results," Loveridge said. "...This is more than just a photo-op, it is a good example for the rest of California."
UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy White said the initiative "comes at the right time."
"...Partnering in this collaborative effort will facilitate and enhance technology commercialization, sparking much needed job creation and economic growth as well as leading widespread adoption of innovative technologies across the region," White said.
Held at UC Riverside's Center for Environmental Research and Technology, officials then toured some of the region's recent clean technology breakthroughs.
Displays included Nimbus Water Systems, based in Murrieta. The company manufactures a solar water purification device, some of which are being used in Haiti to provide clean water to still-recovering earthquake victims.
Nimbus President, Anthony Capone, saw Tuesday's event and the ensuing partnership as an opportunity. The company now employs about 30 people.
"If they have interest in what we are doing we can bring jobs to Murrieta. I would love to have 200 employees," Capone said.
"Anytime you can bring recognition to new technologies, it lets the world know it's available," he said.
It is well known that Bruce Coleman, Murrieta's director of economic development, went to bat for Murrieta's incorporation into the iHub.
"We in Murrieta initiated it since it helps to tie Murrieta’s economic future to the very successful business innovation hub which has developed over the last 30 years in the San Diego region," Coleman said.
"This is a very positive step for our community’s future."